Star and co-writer Greg Stuhr sat in on my interview with co-writer and director Jenna Ricker. You can almost hear him off mic adding a word or two, but he chose to remain a suitably enigmatic, though thoroughly affable, presence rather than a participant as Ricker and I discussed their intriguing film noir, THE AMERICAN SIDE.
The conversation started with my confessing that I felt as though I had been waiting my whole life or a film that combined the work of Nikola Tesla and contemporary conspiracy theories. We went on to talk about the magic of Buffalo, NY (Stuhr’s hometown), the pleasures and perils of doing a genre film, showing us what it’s like to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and why we love conspiracy theories so much. After listening, you might think, as I did, that all roads really to lead back to Tesla.
THE AMERICAN SIDE is a deliciously atmospheric film noir about secrets, double-crosses, and Nikola Tesla. Greg Stuhr plays Charlie Paczynski, a low-rent private eye working the seamier side of Buffalo, New York, where Niagra falls and honeymooners and suicides flock. When one the cons he runs to pay the rent goes south, sending the bait, aka Kat the stripper, to the big sleep, he is suddenly thrust into a world of vintage cars, elegant mansions, international intrigue, squabbling siblings, and a diagram drawn by Tesla that might turn the world inside out if it falls into the wrong hands. The film co-star Matthew Broderick, Camilla Belle, Alicja Bachleda, Robert Forster, Harris Yulin, Grant Shaud, Janeane Garofalo, Kelsey Slepser, and Robert Vaughn as the Silver-Haired Man. Ricker directed on location in Buffalo from a script she co-wrote with Stuhr, and her previous work includes BEN’S PLAN and THE OVERLOOKERS.